Holy Week, COVID-19, and The Serenity Prayer

This is the longest month of March on record! It’s not because this one has more than the usual 31 days, but these days have dragged on and on, and most of us have languished. The corona virus has unleashed so much havoc that it’s hard to believe that it was just a month ago in February that we had stock market highs, COVID-19 was only a blip on our radar, and life was pretty much normal. March has wiped out thousands of lives, and hundreds of thousands in everyone’s retirement accounts. I can’t wait for March to end.

I’ll probably feel the same way about April, but time has seemed to stand still during these days as we have sheltered in place. Days seem like weeks, and weeks like months. Is this our new normal? If it is, what do we do with it and how do we handle it? As I anticipate next week’s observance of Palm Sunday and Good Friday, it feels like we’re stuck in a perpetual Holy Week, and Easter hasn’t come.

Things can turn on a dime, can’t they? The loud hosannas of Palm Sunday turned into shouts of “Barabbas!” just a few days later. In Jesus’ life and ours, things can go quickly from adulation and good times to denial and the worst of times. This kind of tumult isn’t new. It’s just new to most of us. One minute we’re fine and enjoying life, and the next minute we’re scared to go outside. Some of you know this kind of about-face because you’ve seen tragedy before. One minute your daughter is alive, well, and everything is right with the world, and the next thing you know there’s a cop at the door, a somber doctor in the family consultation room, or an officer and chaplain walking up the front steps. Life is fickle.

People are fickle, too. They can and will turn on us. Woodrow Wilson knew both the height of popularity, and its quick demise. He was elected president before WWI, led us as a country through to victory, and had high hopes that he could create the League of Nations so that what had transpired in the trenches of France would never happen again. He wanted WWI to be “The War to End All Wars.” Unfortunately, his plans went awry. Not only did the US Senate fail to ratify the Versailles Treaty to end WWI, but they also rebuked Wilson’s idea of the League of Nations. He went from being a conquering hero to a broken man. He had a stroke in 1919 in the midst of all the stress, and served his last two years in office while completely bedridden.

Life is tough and filled with bad news. People praise us one minute and spit on us the next. What do we do with it, and how do we handle it? Jesus rolled with the punches, and stayed strong. Holy Week and its up and downs served as a crucible that forged more determination in him. Sure, he prayed in the Garden of Gethsemane that he could be spared, but he also made the proclamation, “Not my will, but thy will be done.” That’s commitment. That’s playing the long game, and having a stick-to-it attitude that cares not one whit what people think.

That’s what we need during these difficult days. We should do the very best that we can, and trust the rest to God. It is the essence of the Serenity Prayer: God, Grant me the serenity to accept the things that I cannot change; courage to change the things I can; and the wisdom to know the difference. Amen.

15 thoughts on “Holy Week, COVID-19, and The Serenity Prayer

  1. Hello Pastor Tim.
    Thought I’d add the following to the frequently used Serenity Pray, as it includes Jesus’ example.
    Thank you for leading your sheep. Baa! Baa! One of your sheep, Ruth Lahendro

    Push-pin bullet The Original Full Version

    God, give us grace to accept with serenity
    the things that cannot be changed,
    Courage to change the things
    which should be changed,
    and the Wisdom to distinguish
    the one from the other.

    Living one day at a time,
    Enjoying one moment at a time,
    Accepting hardship as a pathway to peace,
    Taking, as Jesus did,
    This sinful world as it is,
    Not as I would have it,
    Trusting that You will make all things right,
    If I surrender to Your will,
    So that I may be reasonably happy in this life,
    And supremely happy with You forever in the next.

    Amen.

    _________

  2. Thank you for so eloquently stating what we are all feeling. The Serenity Prayer was framed and given to me many years ago ( by the man who you stated looked like a leprechaun-so true) at a time when I needed to accept that I was not in control of many things in my life and when I needed to focus on the plan that God has for me. I will continue to trust. Thank you, again, for your uplifting posts. Take care!

  3. Tim,
    Very well said. We as people of God don’t know what is going to happen and change our lives forever. Janet and I know the pain of losing a daughter all too well. you think of them everyday, but you have to move forward to help take care of those beautiful children she left behind. Our paths may seem all straight and without any bumps,but God’s plan may be entirely differant than yours. Praying that as we leave this terrible virus behind we will return to our churches with a better understanding of how God loves us and is with us everyday..

    1. Charles, Wonderfully and poignantly said. God bless you and Janet, and may this lead to a genuine revival. tim

      Sent from my iPhone

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  4. Tim, thank you for providing the insight of how we should live our lives. I pray to trust God with his plan for my life and my family’s life. Praying that this situation that we are enduring worldwide will bring us all closer to God and truly trust what he planned for us. God bless you and your family. We miss you and Cindy. Gail

    1. Miss y’all, too, Gail. God bless and protect you and Ned. May we truly survive, thrive, and have a revival! tim

      Sent from my iPhone

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